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Delay for King Salmon Hearing

Salmonids Technology & equipment Politics +2 more

NEW ZEALAND - The Environmental Protection Authority hearing to decide whether NZ King Salmon should be granted resource consent to develop nine new fish farms in the Marlborough Sounds has been delayed two weeks.

Lucy Towers thumbnail

The hearing will begin in Blenheim on Monday, 27 August at the Wisheart Room in the Floor Pride Marlborough Civic Theatre. The original start date was 13 August, reports Marlborough Express.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) board of inquiry, which will hear the application, emailed submitters yesterday saying it had decided to delay the start of the hearing. This was in response to three submitters asking that the 27 July deadline for evidence be extended by a month.

An EPA spokeswoman said the board decided an extra month was not feasible because it must release a final decision by December 31, nine months after King Salmon notified its application. However, it recognised the time constraints for and extended the deadline for evidence by two weeks, to 10 August.

Sustain Our Sounds chairman Danny Boulton said the postponement took some pressure off submitters. Deadlines had been especially difficult for the many submitters, including him, who lived in remote areas of the Marlborough Sounds.

For example, there was no power to his home at French Pass on Tuesday so he was unable to use his computer.

Sustain Our Sounds had met deadlines and did not request the delay, but members might have asked as individuals, Mr Boulton said.

NZ King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said he was surprised at the delay because there had already been a one-week postponement.

We didn't request this and have met all the time requirements stipulated by the board of inquiry," he said.

"The board has been very flexible with late submitters, giving them more time to prepare their evidence."

The EPA spokeswoman said the board had until the end of November to write its draft report, to accommodate a 20-working day period for comments and end-of-year deadline. The original due date for the draft was 26 October.

The NZ King Salmon deadline for rebuttal evidence had been extended from 8 August until 17 August and its final planning report was due by 27 August.

The hearing programme, including the order of topics and how long each submitter could speak would be set at a pre-hearing conference on Friday, 24 August.

The EPA spokeswoman told the Marlborough Express on Tuesday that the hearing was expected to start on time. She said yesterday that board members would use what was to have been the first two weeks of the hearing as reading time.

Any submitter who wants to speak at the hearing must let the EPA know by 5pm on 3 August.